Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Human Anatomy: The Nervous System

My kindergarten- 2nd grade class learned all about the nervous system. We talked about things like neurons and parts of the brain. We made a few brain crafts and played a game or two. Who knew learning about the nervous system could be so much fun? We covered this material over two class-periods, but I am condensing it to one post.

The Nerves


We started out learning about nerves. We learned that nerve cells are called neurons. These cells pass along electrical messages to each other. Using this wonderful Parts of a Nerve Cell worksheet from File Folder Fun, I briefly went over the parts of a nerve. The main concept I wanted them to grasp was that nerve cells pass messages along to each other and that they have special parts that allow the neuron to do that job. I introduced the terms axon and dendrite, but did not expect mastery at this point. They'll get it again later.

We then created "nerve necklaces." This printable craft can be found in Scholastic's Human Body Project Book.  When we were finished, we gathered in a circle and played a short game that demonstrated how neurons send electrical impulses to the next neuron. Students stood in a circle holding hands. The designated "start" person squeezed the hand of the person on his right, when that person felt the squeeze, they squeezed the next person's hand. We would time how long it took for the "squeeze" to get back to the first person.

The Brain


We talked about how the brain is the command center of the nervous system. It gathers all the information and then tells the body what to do. We learned about the three main parts of the brain: the cerebrum, cerebellum, and the brain stem. We made models of the brain out of modeling clay (Apologia book pg 151.)

Once again Valerie over at File Folder Fun had a Parts of the Brain worksheet. This went in more detail than the three parts we learned, but it got across to the kids that certain parts of the brain are in charge of certain parts of the body.

We also printed out a Brain Puzzle plus a mini-poster on the nervous system from File Folder Fun. She also has a couple cute crafts suitable for older kids.

Additional Activity: The Human Body Project Book has a printable brain-hat, which we made but did not photograph (I must have been busy.) 

If possible, I always try to show the kids a related video clip. Schoolhouse Rock has The Telegraph System video which was perfect for this lesson! (video embedded below for those reading in RSS)

As always, my class had a take-home sheet and a coloring assignment in their human body coloring book.

You can see past lessons by visiting the Human Body Page
Linking up to Science Sunday too (even though it is Tues.)

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Blogger Rebecca said...

I've never heard of File Folder Fun - I"ll definitely have to check them out! Thanks for another great resource...I'll be pinning this to our Homeschool Science board!

March 13, 2012 at 5:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to tell you that it's so nice to "meet" another blogger who's homeschooling toddlers, teenagers, and in between! Isn't this a great life? :)

March 13, 2012 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger Ticia said...

It's good to link up even if it's Tuesday :).

I always enjoy your science posts because it lets me dream about when we do anatomy in a year or so (our next science is between anatomy and land animals, the current compromise is learn about skeletons and then do land animals).

March 13, 2012 at 2:56 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

Very nice post and thank you for the resource links!

March 14, 2012 at 12:41 PM  
Blogger Eddie said...

I've never looked at File Folder Fun before - thanks for the link!
Also, if your kids are enjoying the brain activities, Ellen McHenry's site (www.ellenjmchenry.com) has a free printable brain hat that I made with ours last year.

March 15, 2012 at 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Sarabeth said...

I am so grateful to have found your blog series on the Human Body (posted by Trigger Memory Systems on Facebook). I am planning to use this curriculum next year with my then 4th, 2nd, 1st and pre-K. Thanks for sharing. :)

March 16, 2012 at 9:02 PM  

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